Bags, Packs and Containers

Anyone that knows me also knows that I have a slight problem with bikes and bags.  While the bike addiction might be under control these days, meaning that I’m stoked on my current steeds and just want to ride them and not build new ones,  the bag addiction is far from gone.  My off-road touring monster, Hunter, is very capable of taking front and back panniers.  But when riding off road or completely not on any roads, I find that panniers tend to get in the way.  So I was looking for alternatives and came up with the setup displayed above.

From the backend of the bike to the front you have the following:

  • BikePack RePack C.  This baby is amazing and is the place where everything that’s not needed during the day is stored.  In the case of a recent three days tour that meant extra base layer, jersey, touring shorts, bibs, socks, toiletries, chamois creme, sleeping gear and what not.  It sits solid without swaying at all, had way more space than I actually used and of course, for this specific model, comes in cameo.  From a European perspective, this is the best deal one can find – Pawel who produces them in Poznan, Poland, is a solid dude, ships super quickly, and is very reliable.  The price of the bags is 65 Euro which is simply unbeatable.  I can not recommend this bag enough and no I am taking no kickbacks from Pawel.
  • Revelate Designs Tangle Frame Bag and Gas Tank.  The Gas Tank is used for one purpose only: to cary my Panasonic GX7 camera with a 20mm (full frame equivalent 40mm) lens.  I like the shape of the Gas Tank and the fact that it is wider than the similar top tube bag from BikePack, but the latter was not wide enough for a camera.  The Tangle Frame Bag has two sides.  The right side is where I keep all the snacks, gels, sandwiches, nuts and power bars.  It’s easy to open while riding and has enough room for bulky bags of dried fruits as well as bananas.  It’s my goto side on a ride.  The left side is slightly more shallow which is why I keep all the tools in there.  It accommodates two tubes, tools, patch kit, a few lights, pens, iPhone charger, cables etc.  It’s my garage when I’m on the road.
  • Bailey Works D Rack. Bailey Works are located in New Hampshire.  I saw the D-rack mounted on one of the Ride Studio Cafes show floor bikes and fell in love with it.  I was shocked to find out that Bailey did not actually offer it as part of their standard offering.  I did a lot of searching until I found out that one has to email the guys and ask them for one.  Within two days after I asked for it, it arrived, in cameo of course, to my U.S. address.  Why do I need it?  I don’t really, but I tend to keep things like gluten-free bread in there, a charger battery which I use when the Garmin runs out of juice on a long ride and other what not.  It rests comfortably on the Velo Orange Pass Hunter Rack and at times is the only storage I take when riding.  It’s not too big, but I like the way it works.  The same rack should really be used to host a randonneur bag…that will be the next bag purchase.

It’s really not cheap or easy to get some of these bags in Europe.  Shipping Revelate from their home in Alaska to Germany will take a lot of time, will include high cost of postage and possibly will involve the friendly customs people.  BikePack makes frame bags – both custom and standard which could work well (I have no personal experience there) – this could be considered a good alternative.  Other than this, feel free to let me know what other European alternatives you know of.

Have fun out there.

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